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Old 06-14-2008, 06:08 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by financeguy View Post
As an accountant, then, I'd imagine you're concerned about the fact the European Court of Auditors has refused to sign off on the accounts of the European Commission for several years running. It's immensely troubling that the EC can't be bothered to balance its books and account for its expenditure (OUR money). It's quite an insult to the people of Europe that they can't even be bothered rectifying the problems that their own auditors have informed them of. (Of course, there is a more straightforward explanation. They might just be defrauding us.)
again, I really fail to see what this has to do with anything
unless you were proposing to use your claims of fraud in a bid to get rid of the EC alltogether
otherwise this would only serve as an arguement for increased clarity on the EC actions, which would actually point more towards a Yes vote

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What I'd suggest is that you read up on some of the speeches, articles, and published works of some these people, and that will enable you to understand and appreciate the arguments of the Eurosceptic position:
what I suggest is that you stop talking down to me like I'm 7 years old
I have done my reading on this topic, believe it or not
and I don't think the issue is my appreciation of arguments from Eurosceptics
the thing I noticed is that the arguments - from either side - have hardly changed since I studied this topic back in the early 90s around the time of the Treaty of Maastricht and are not even all that different from around the time of the Treaty of Rome back in the mid 50s (I think)

and that is sort of the basis of what actually troubles me
50 years from the Treaty of Rome nothing has changed
well, everything has changed except for the EC
this doesn't mean we should vote for change for the sake of change itself, but it does mean that it's time to at least see what changes should be made to improve the way the EC functions in its current form
and I don't see how the Lisbon Treaty is such a bad way to go about this

I really don't see how the Lisbon Treaty would equate to European Federalism
actually I think that is a laughable notion if anything else
when the treaty was voted on in The Netherlands there were many pro Europeans who were against the treaty because according to them it doesn't go far enough in creating a united Europe in their view
(an interesting approach, but one I find hard to swallow after 50 years of hardly any forward movement at all)
this treaty doesn't aim at ending sovereign states
it's aim is, as Dr Teeth states, more clarity within the EC

still the referendum gets the No vote everywhere mostly because of:
- people being afraid of something they don't understand and feel absolutely no connection with (funny enough, something this treaty might actually be a solution to)
- lots of people actually voting No because of some sort of protest vote against their own current government (oh, the irony)
- and people who seem to be afraid that their national identity is at stake even though there's no indication of this being so

I'd also suggest that if you would bother to read up on this (actually reading Dr Teeth's post would already be a good start as far as I'm concerned) you would notice that any list of Eurosceptics can be met with an equally long list of Pro Europe thinkers. Both list containing both very intelligent people and some less intelligent people.

Even better, tell me what points in the Treaty you disagree with.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:27 AM   #47
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I doubt that the average voter could name more than two changes proposed in the Lisbon Treaty.
Exactly! I don't understand what the Lisbon Treaty actually is (so I really do appreciate your post listing some of the main points of it, thank you), no-one (newspapers, politicians etc) seems to have bothered to explain it so when the British Government stands up and says, "Oh the British public don't need a referendum about this. We know what's best for the UK and have already agreed to it" it made me, and I'd assume a lot of other people, rather uneasy purely because it wasn't made clear to us what the treaty actually entailed. The fact that the Government had originally agreed to a referendum on it then changed its mind frankly only increased that unease.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:29 AM   #48
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Exactly! I don't understand what the Lisbon Treaty actually is
I think most of the average voters in Ireland are in the same boat
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:43 AM   #49
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What you're describing is very similar to the situation immediately after World War II and the millions of "displaced persons" and other refugees needing to find a home and work in Europe (and elsewhere in the world). These people often had no choice to move to other countries, and they did the worst jobs imaginable, just to make a living. Learning new languages and "trying to integrate" often isn't a priority when you're slaving to make a buck. And you are villified: wogs, dagoes, chinks....

How do I know this? My parents went through this.

And it's amazing how 20, 30 years then changes others' perceptions about you....
Poland isnt the mess it was straight after the war, it has recieved heavy investment from the EU in recent years and the Polish home office are encouraging people to comeback home. The British government has offered grants and incentives for migrants to learn english, the help has been offered aswell as financial. But they dont feel the need to learn English because they are making very little if any social interactions with the English speaking population.

As sympathetic as i am to your parents case, this is a very different time.
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:46 AM   #50
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As I've said in the other thread, the Lisbon Treaty would have made the EU more transparent and much more democratic than it is now:

* Increasing power of the directly elected EU parliament compared to that of the EU council;
* Having the option of citizen referenda;
* Meetings of the EU council to be held in public;
* More double majority voting;

all make cries of some kind of shady dictatorship laughable at best.
Your having a laugh arent you ? If the EU is supposed to be more transparent then why are MEP expenses covered up ? More democratic you say ? Why wasnt a referendum compulsory for all EU member states ?

Its clearly a dictatorship by stealth.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:00 AM   #51
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My biggest pet hate about the situation is their lack of English and there lack of intent on studying the language. They stay within their on communities which eliminates the need to learn English. Their inability to learn the language will/has put pressure on local services such as police and hospitals to hire translators to deal with these cases. Intergration is key, so far this is failing badly, such an admission has been admited by the British government.
I want to point out that, over the long term, this is absolutely nothing to worry about. Yes, first-generation immigrants like this often are not very integrated into society and often do not know the native language tremendously well. This was exactly the case when it came to European immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In fact, of all people, the Polish heavily immigrated around where I live in the early 20th century. They had language barriers, formed their own neighborhoods, built their own churches, and faced considerable hostility from the native population up to the point that many of those who had integrated into society would legally have their Polish names/surnames changed just so they wouldn't get discriminated against in decent employment.

Today? The only way you'd know that there were ever immigrant Poles here are by the last names of people you run into. They are fully integrated as Americans and their ethnic neighborhoods and churches, for all intents and purposes, cease to exist.

I can cite plenty of examples of similar stories with various other immigrant groups just from this area alone. We also have the city with the largest population of Arab Americans (30% of the city) not too far away. Interestingly, they're pretty much next to a heavily Jewish populated area, and with no problems.

I do understand that there are other concerns to bring up with mass immigration, which I am not addressing here. Long-term integration, though, over the span of decades, is rarely a concern.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:34 PM   #52
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Your having a laugh arent you ? If the EU is supposed to be more transparent then why are MEP expenses covered up ? More democratic you say ? Why wasnt a referendum compulsory for all EU member states ?

Its clearly a dictatorship by stealth.
You complain about some kind of EU dictatorship, yet you want the EU to lay down the law for ratifying treaties? The procedure on how to deal with treaties such as this one is up to the individual member states and of no concern to the EU. It's remarks like these that seriously make me wonder if people in the opposing camp actually think their objections through, or that they just like sticking it to the man.

Also, the expense accounts of MEP are audited (though it's far from perfect) and subject to reform in 2009. So even though it's obvious that the EU should really do a lot better in this case, it's not like there's a massive cover up of some sorts.

I would be interested to hear what issues you have with the points in the treaty that I highlighted in my previous post. Don't you think the proposed changes I mentioned make the EU more democratic? And if you think it's not going far enough, how exactly does voting against the treaty make it more democratic?
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:38 PM   #53
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I'm kind of getting the feeling that this is a massive failure of the politicians to really simplify the terms of the treaty for everyday people. Because I haven't yet heard a single specific provision of the treaty that anyone opposes, it's all just talk in terms of generalities. So either the political establishment has failed to explain the treaty or the treaty is so badly drafted that nobody, including the political establishment, really understands it.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:54 PM   #54
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I want to point out that, over the long term, this is absolutely nothing to worry about. Yes, first-generation immigrants like this often are not very integrated into society and often do not know the native language tremendously well. This was exactly the case when it came to European immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In fact, of all people, the Polish heavily immigrated around where I live in the early 20th century. They had language barriers, formed their own neighborhoods, built their own churches, and faced considerable hostility from the native population up to the point that many of those who had integrated into society would legally have their Polish names/surnames changed just so they wouldn't get discriminated against in decent employment.

Today? The only way you'd know that there were ever immigrant Poles here are by the last names of people you run into. They are fully integrated as Americans and their ethnic neighborhoods and churches, for all intents and purposes, cease to exist.

I can cite plenty of examples of similar stories with various other immigrant groups just from this area alone. We also have the city with the largest population of Arab Americans (30% of the city) not too far away. Interestingly, they're pretty much next to a heavily Jewish populated area, and with no problems.

I do understand that there are other concerns to bring up with mass immigration, which I am not addressing here. Long-term integration, though, over the span of decades, is rarely a concern.
Some European countries, especially those that have not dealt with high scale immigration, now are facing some severe problems with immigrants as they never cared to provide for those immigrants to integrate. I don't think integration in Europe can be compared to that in the US, or Canada or Australia for that matter. Those that have moved a hundred years or more ago are fully integrated as well, but today we have many immigrants in second or third generation that are often struggling with problems finding employment, problems with their identity (whether to "feel" German or Turkish for example) and other problems like language, prejudices or religious and cultural differences.

Free moving has allowed for many East Europeans to find employment in other countries, but they often don't intend to stay there for decades, hence they don't bother to integrate and learn the language. On the other hand, the European governments so far have failed to develop the infrastructure etc. to not only give these workers "shelter", but also to encourage these to integrate.
And many companies exploit the desperate situation of people from East Poland, Bulgaria or other weak countries, paying them relatively low wages and don't giving a damn how to help these workers how get along in their host nations.
And regarding Poland, this still is a very difficult case as an economy. You have the west that has benefitted relatively well from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the EU, but you have also the east which still is very rural, very much behind and economically extremely week. Hence, they are working for almost every wage possible in order to support their family back home. Additionally, the bright minds often get sucked up by the own developing economy. It might sound a bit cruel, but those who leave for shitty work abroad often are not the bright, high-performing people.

It shouldn't be forgotten that also people from the western European countries are largely profitting from the free movement of labour. And in the long-run, markets tend to find equilibrium, a theory vastly supported by the economists quoted on the page before.
Well, I don't agree with them as in their view we should leave way too much to the markets, and in my opinion we have seen too many examples where that has failed miserably (just think of the liberalisation of the financial markets in the US). On the other hand, I'm quite positive that the effects the cheap labour from East Europe are currently having won't be too bad, but rather even out.
On another note, if it was for Mrs. Thatcher, there would still be two Germanies and whatnot. I'm not too much a fan of her views on European politics in general.

I'm disappointed that the German government, along with almost every other, didn't think it was necessary to hold a referendum. The Lisbon Treaty is such an important step I find it ridiculous the public is ignored on this. Even worse, they didn't seem to see the need to objectively inform the public about the Lisbon Treaty at large. I don't know about how it looked like in other countries, but in Germany there has hardly been any public discussion about the Lisbon Treaty, the two sides of the arguments, the important parts of the treaty and so on. Hardly anyone really knows what is in the treaty, and the politicians failed to inform us about it big time.
It's true, the text of the treaty is available to the public, but come on, it's not justified to expect the public to read some 1,300 pages of legal language.

Additionally, I'm not opposed to the principle of the European Union, which means a economic and political union. I'm rather in favour of it. But I also think such a huge development needs its time, it cannot be forced on the public. And parts of the Lisbon Treaty are trying just that. In my eyes, as long-term goals that is generally desirable. But it's too early yet. We are just not that far progressed, and not that European. It is taking some generations, and not only 51 years after the Treaties of Rome are signed.
Another point, basically the Lisbon Treaty is just the failed European Constitution being given minor changes and a new name. That's an affront to the public. (And mind you, I would easily put myself pro-EU than anti-EU).

There are many things of the Lisbon Treaty that's really an important step forward, many of them listed by DrTeeth. But there are points, like shifting full legal responsibility (sorry, that's not the exact term but my English and my mind are failing me here) from the national high courts to the European High Court.

There are still considerable differences between the EU member states where the Lisbon Treaty is trying to be some sort of a unifier when it cannot be a unifier. In my eyes the politicians have to get off their high horses, listen to the public and think whether they really want to make the second step before the first. And give the damn thing its due time.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:56 PM   #55
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Why wasnt a referendum compulsory for all EU member states ?

Well, simply because as of now the EU doesn't authority to do so.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:58 PM   #56
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I'm kind of getting the feeling that this is a massive failure of the politicians to really simplify the terms of the treaty for everyday people. Because I haven't yet heard a single specific provision of the treaty that anyone opposes, it's all just talk in terms of generalities. So either the political establishment has failed to explain the treaty or the treaty is so badly drafted that nobody, including the political establishment, really understands it.
The success of the U.S. Constitution, I believe, has been in the fact that it is specific on the very basic framework of the country, while also being rather vague on everything else--thus allowing it to be an organic document. Even most of the arguments by the so-called "strict constructionists" are really based on conservative romanticism, rather than any sense of actual strictness; so, in short, the Constitution can survive even in inherent conflicts between liberals and conservatives and the shifting attitudes of time.

I'm not sure if the European Constitution/Treaty of Lisbon is like this or is a bloated, complicated document that one would expect to be written today by a bunch of lawyers, but I thought this observation would be worth sharing on this note.
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:00 PM   #57
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Some European countries, especially those that have not dealt with high scale immigration, now are facing some severe problems with immigrants as they never cared to provide for those immigrants to integrate. I don't think integration in Europe can be compared to that in the US, or Canada or Australia for that matter. Those that have moved a hundred years or more ago are fully integrated as well, but today we have many immigrants in second or third generation that are often struggling with problems finding employment, problems with their identity (whether to "feel" German or Turkish for example) and other problems like language, prejudices or religious and cultural differences.

Free moving has allowed for many East Europeans to find employment in other countries, but they often don't intend to stay there for decades, hence they don't bother to integrate and learn the language. On the other hand, the European governments so far have failed to develop the infrastructure etc. to not only give these workers "shelter", but also to encourage these to integrate.
And many companies exploit the desperate situation of people from East Poland, Bulgaria or other weak countries, paying them relatively low wages and don't giving a damn how to help these workers how get along in their host nations.
Then I get the sense that the problem is not with the immigrants and more to do with the host countries themselves.
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:06 PM   #58
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I'm not sure if the European Constitution/Treaty of Lisbon is like this or is a bloated, complicated document that one would expect to be written today by a bunch of lawyers, but I thought this observation would be worth sharing on this note.
I get the sense it's more like a modern Tax Act than like the US Constitution or the Canadian Constitututional documents (The Charter, the old BNA, etc).
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:11 PM   #59
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I'm kind of getting the feeling that this is a massive failure of the politicians to really simplify the terms of the treaty for everyday people. Because I haven't yet heard a single specific provision of the treaty that anyone opposes, it's all just talk in terms of generalities. So either the political establishment has failed to explain the treaty or the treaty is so badly drafted that nobody, including the political establishment, really understands it.
It's just that the Treaty is far too many pages and being legal language it's not really an easy read for non-jurists.
Most people don't want to vote for something they barely understand, and their politicians don't care to take the time to give them a fair insight.
Hence, many people don't go to the voting booth, if they even get the chance to do so. And many of those who go are not willing to give their 'yes' for something they don't really know what it means for them.
Another factor, those opposed to the EU Constitution, or now to the Lisbon Treaty, is much louder than the side that is in favour of it.

Additionally, especially older demographics, but even a lot of young people are just not that enthusiastic about the EU for so many reasons, are afraid of their nation losing sovereignty and are feeling more German, French, English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Danish, Polish... than European.

Just one recent example of how difficult that gets: German airline Air Berlin currently is in hot waters with nationalistic Katalan politicians from Mallorca and other Katalan regions for refusing to use the Katalan language on flights to these regions. So, if you have such movements even within countries, how should they be open to the idea of one Europe?
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Old 06-14-2008, 02:25 PM   #60
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You complain about some kind of EU dictatorship, yet you want the EU to lay down the law for ratifying treaties? The procedure on how to deal with treaties such as this one is up to the individual member states and of no concern to the EU. It's remarks like these that seriously make me wonder if people in the opposing camp actually think their objections through, or that they just like sticking it to the man.



I would be interested to hear what issues you have with the points in the treaty that I highlighted in my previous post. Don't you think the proposed changes I mentioned make the EU more democratic? And if you think it's not going far enough, how exactly does voting against the treaty make it more democratic?
Im more in favour of giving back power to central government and local authority.
I have always been under the impression that democracy was about giving the people the power to vote and make changes in ways there life is governed. The constitution and treaty were ground breaking pieces of legislation that ultimately would of surrendered large proportion of each independent nation's control to Brussels. How possibly can you preach democracy when the people of the Union were unable to vote on their future ? So regardless of being more democratic or less democratic the public perception is, if the powers that be thought the public couldn't be trusted to decide their future something sinister and disturbing is at play.

How would you like it for your parents signed away their guardianship to someone else without your say so ? regardless of been a good deal or not you be so miffed of. dont lie.
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